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vintage & retro Christmas collecting

Kitsch vintage pink Christmas decorations


kitsch christmas decorations
I love kitschy junk, and nothing says 'kitsch' more than vintage Christmas. My favourite decorations are from the 1950s and 1960s, but I have a number of World War II and older pieces, with the oldest ones dating to the 1930s. One of my prized possessions is an antique green Revlis aluminum taper tree. Sadly, the original box was destroyed in a house flood.

If you want to have a kitsch Christmas in your home this year, then using vintage Christmas decorations is a must. This allows you to take a stroll down the memory lane and bring the memories of a kitsch right into your home.

Have yourself a merry little Kitschmas this year.

Start with the tree

Why deal with the needle cleanup of a live tree? Go for the most fake tree you can imagine: the aluminum Christmas tree. It's shiny, it's atomic, and it can be recycled if it ever falls apart.

Dream of pink Christmas decorations

It's a huge addition to the kitsch factor to decorate for Christmas in a single colour. Imagine an entire house decorated for a pink Christmas -- or an aquamarine Christmas, or gold if that suits your fancy. Choose everything from ornaments to wreaths with an eye toward colour overload.


In 1880, F.W. Woolworth bought glass kugels (silvered glass balls) from Germany and sold them in his stores. They quickly sold out, and so a new tradition was born. By the 1920s, glassmakers in Czechoslovakia started making Christmas baubles, as did the Japanese glassmakers. Both of these were less expensive than Christmas ornaments from the original makers in Germany. Max Eckardt & Sons in New York also started making these kugels at the end of the 1930s under the brand "Shiny Brite".

Look for silver, gold, cobalt blue, green, and of course shades of pink. Often you will see glass kugels displayed on vintage feather trees, or on live trees, but if you have them, use them on whatever tree you have. There are two sizes of balls (2 inch or 4 inch) in addition to egg-, pear- or grape-shaped ornaments.

Today kugels are rare and expensive if found in reasonably good condition. They are quite fragile as most of them have been broken over the years.

The Christmas Pickle

The Christmas pickle is not really a pickle at all. It is a pickle-shaped blown glass ornament which is the last one placed on the tree on Christmas Eve. The first child to find the Christmas pickle gets an extra gift from Saint Nicholas, or so the story goes. This custom, like many Christmas traditions, originated in Germany.

Christmas lights

A big part of decorating for Christmas is hanging the strings of lights that make the house sparkle and shine. If you want kitsch decorations, use vintage lights.

Warning: Vintage incandescent lights are not the same as modern LEDs and CFLs. They get very hot very fast, and will have the old-style ungrounded plugs. Be very careful if you use them.

Cook up a nice clichéd holiday treat

The Christmas table is an important a gathering place during the Christmas holidays season, so expand the kitsch to include iconic family Christmas foods.

Don't forget to decorate yourself in your kitsch Christmas best

So cliché it's fun: go for the kitsch. If your family says "ugh!", turn a kitsch eye toward clothing choices. These things don't get to be stereotypical kitsch by themselves.

Where to find a vintage Christmas decorations

Try any of the following:

Further reading

You might also enjoy these books:

merry kitschmas Merry Kitschmas: The Ultimate Holiday Handbook by Michael Conway (Chronicle Books, 2004): A kitsch guide to celebrating Christmas complete with craft and recipe ideas. More text than photos, so it isn't a coffee table book. If you are here for the kitsch, it's a must-read.

These books can be difficult to find since many are out of print. Some great places to buy used books online include:

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